04 Jan 2009
PUCCINI: Turandot — Wien 1961
Turandot, dramma lirico in three acts.
Advertised in the program as the first opera written in the New World, La Púrpura de la Rosa (PR) was premiered in 1701 in Lima (Peru), but more than the historical feat, true or not, accounts for the piece’s interest.
Das Liebesverbot: Grosse komische Oper in two acts.
Opera in three acts. Words and music by Richard Wagner.
Parsifal. Bühnenweihfestspiel (“stage dedication play”) in three acts.
“German poet, dramatist and novelist. One of the most important literary and cultural figures of his age, he was recognized during his lifetime for his accomplishments of almost universal breadth. However, it is his literary works that have most consistently sustained his reputation, and that also serve to demonstrate most clearly his many-faceted relationship to music. . . .
This theme relates to operas based on the works of Friedrich von Schiller.
Here are operas based on French literature from Balzac, Hugo and beyond:
Le Cid, Opéra in 4 acts
I puritani, opera seria in three acts
Zaira, Tragedia lirica in two acts.
Athalia: Oratorio (sacred drama) in 3 acts
Lucrezia Borgia: Melodramma in a prologue and two acts.
La Esmeralda: Opéra in four acts.
Ernani: Dramma lirico in four parts.
Oberst Chabert (Colonel Chabert): Tragic opera in 3 acts.
Otello: Dramma lirico in four acts.
Music composed by Giuseppe Verdi. Libretto by Arrigo Boito after The Tragedie of Othello, the Moore of Venice by William Shakespeare.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a comedy in five acts with incidental music.
Le Marchand de Venise (“The Merchant of Venice”): Opéra in three acts.
Gli Equivoci (The Comedy of Errors): Opera in two acts.
Der Sturm: Opera in three acts
Turandot, dramma lirico in three acts.
Music composed by Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924). Libretto by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni based on Turandot, Prinzessin von China (1802), Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller's adaptation of Turandotte (1762) by Carlo Gozzi.
First Performance: 25 April 1926, Teatro alla Scala, Milan.
|The Emperor Altoum, her father||Tenor|
|Timur, the dispossessed King of Tartary||Bass|
|Calaf, the son of Timur||Tenor|
|Liù, a young slave-girl||Soprano|
|Ping, Grand Chancellor||Baritone|
|Pang, General Purveyor||Tenor|
|Pong, Chief Cook||Tenor|
|The Prince of Persia||Silent role|
|The Executioner (Pu-Tin-Pao)||Silent role|
Setting: Peking in the distant past.
A Mandarin announces that any prince seeking to marry the Princess Turandot must first answer three riddles. If he fails, he must die. The latest suitor, the Prince of Persia, is to be executed at the moon's rising. In the crowd is Timur, banished King of Tartary, who is reunited with his son, Calaf, who he thought died in a battle. The Prince of Persia passes on his way to the scaffold and the crowd calls upon the Princess to spare him. Turandot bids that the execution proceed. As the death cry is heard, Calaf, transfixed by the beauty of the Princess, strides towards the gong that announces a new suitor. Turandot's ministers, Ping, Pang and Pong, try to discourage Calaf. Timur and Liù (who is in love with Calaf) also beg him to reconsider, but he strikes the gong and calls Turandot's name.
Ping, Pang and Pong lament Turandot's bloody reign, hoping that love will conquer her icy heart and peace will return. They think longingly of their distant country homes, but the noise of the populace gathering to hear Turandot question the new challenger brings them back to reality.
The people, eager for another execution, have gathered in the square. The Emperor asks Calaf to reconsider, but he refuses. Turandot describes how her ancestor was dishonoured and killed by a conquering prince; the cruel trial her suitors have to undergo is revenge for that crime. Turandot asks Calaf three riddles, which he answers correctly. Turandot begs her father not to give her to the stranger, but to no avail. Calaf, hoping to win her love, offers Turandot a challenge: if she can learn his name by dawn, he will forfeit his life.
Calaf hears a proclamation: on pain of death, no one in Peking shall sleep until Turandot learns the stranger's name. Ping, Pang and Pong try unsuccessfully to bribe him to learn his secret. As the mob threatens him, soldiers drag in Liù and Timur. Calaf tries to convince the mob that neither knows his secret. Liù declares that she alone knows but will never tell. She is tortured, but remains silent. Impressed by such endurance, Turandot asks Liù's secret: "Love" replies Liù. Fearing that she will weaken under torture Liù seizes a dagger and kills herself. The crowd, fearful of her dead spirit, forms a funeral procession. Left alone with Turandot, Calaf first reproaches her for her coldness and cruelty, then kisses her. Feeling emotion for the first time, Turandot weeps. Now sure of his victory, Calaf reveals his identity. Before the assembled crowd, Turandot announces the stranger's name: it is Love. As Calaf embraces her, the court hails the power of love and life.